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The rifleman of the Christchurch Mosque, who killed 51 Muslims, is on trial before survivors


A grieving mother, whose son was murdered in the attack on the Christchurch Mosque, confronted the terrorist in court today and said to him: "You killed your own humanity."

Maysoon Salama told white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, "I cannot forgive you … I don't think the world will forgive you for your terrible crime."

Salama's son, 33-year-old Atta Elayyan, was one of 51 Muslims killed in Tarrant's carefully planned rampage in two mosques in New Zealand last year.

Tarrant, facing life in prison without parole, showed no emotion as he faced wounded victims and bereaved for the first time today.

Other survivors recalled the horror of hiding under bodies and living with the sound of an automatic rifle in their ears when they testified at Monday's hearing.

"May you receive the harshest punishment for your evil deed in this life and after," a tearful salama told the court.

Terrorist: White supremacist Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant showed no emotion as he faced wounded victims and bereaved for the first time today

Maysoon Salama (seated by the microphone), the mother of one of the victims of the Christchurch shooting, said in court today that she told Brenton Tarrant that he "killed your own humanity" by killing 51 Muslims last year

Maysoon Salama (seated by the microphone), the mother of one of the victims of the Christchurch shooting, said in court today that she told Brenton Tarrant that he "killed your own humanity" by killing 51 Muslims last year

Amid tight security with snipers on the rooftops, the hearing was told of the heavily armed Tarrant opening fire on men, women and children, ignoring calls for help, and running over a body as he walked from one mosque to the next.

When he saw three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim holding on to his father's leg, Tarrant killed him "with two precise shots," Prosecutor Barnaby Hawes told the court.

Tarrant pleaded guilty to murder, 40 of attempted murder and one of terrorism after storming two mosques in Christchurch. The rampage ended when the police stopped him while he was traveling to a third.

Lawyers expect the 29-year-old Australian to be the first person to be jailed for life without parole in New Zealand.

He wore gray prison clothing and was surrounded by three police officers in the dock. He paused and looked around the room occasionally while Hawes provided a terrifying summary of the facts.

"He admitted going to both mosques to kill as many people as possible," said Hawes.

"He said he was planning to shoot more people than he was and was on his way to another mosque in Ashburton to conduct another attack when it was stopped," he said.

Tarrant also carried four modified gas containers that he would use to burn down the mosques after the shooting ended, Hawes said.

Prosecutors said the third attack was prevented after Tarrant was rammed by two police officers, pulled out of his car and arrested on the way to the Ashburton Mosque.

Hawes told the court that Tarrant himself described the shooting as a "terrorist attack" in an interview with police.

"He wanted to instill fear in those he called invaders, including the Muslim population or, more generally, non-European immigrants," Hawes said.

Shortly before the shooting, Tarrant posted a 74-page manifesto online containing racist conspiracy theories.

Janna Ezat, mother of one of the victims, speaks in Christchurch High Court during the trial for mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant on Monday

Janna Ezat, mother of one of the victims, speaks in Christchurch High Court during the trial for mosque gunman Brenton Tarrant on Monday

Family members of victims killed in the two mosque attacks arrive in Christchurch High Court on Monday morning

Family members of victims killed in the two mosque attacks arrive in Christchurch High Court on Monday morning

Gunman's careful planning for mosque attacks

According to New Zealand prosecutors, gunman Brenton Tarrant meticulously planned the attacks on March 15 last year.

They told the court that:

  • The Australian Tarrant came to New Zealand in 2017 and successfully applied for a gun license.
  • Between late 2017 and early 2019, he bought a collection of high-performance weapons with military sighting systems and telescopic sights. He practiced in various rifle clubs.
  • He collected more than 7,000 rounds of ammunition and bought ballistic armor and military-style tactical vests.
  • Two months before the attack, on January 8, 2019, Tarrant traveled from Dunedin to Christchurch for reconnaissance.
  • He studied mosque plans and researched what the busiest times would be. He also flew a drone over his main target, the Al Noor Mosque, and focused on the entry and exit doors.
  • On the day of the attack, Tarrant sent a message to family members describing his intentions.
  • He then activated a camera with a live feed via Facebook and started his killing spree in the early afternoon.
  • He was arrested on his way to a third mosque after attacking the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center.

Abdiaziz Ali Jama, a 44-year-old Somali refugee, saw her brother-in-law Muse Awale shot and said she had continued to suffer trauma.

"I see the pictures and hear the constant rata-rata-rata sound – the sound of rifle shooting – in my head," said Jama.

“I have flashbacks and see corpses all around me. Blood everywhere, ”added a son of Ashraf Ali, another victim.

Gamal Fouda, the imam of the Al Noor mosque, said he was standing in the pulpit and saw the hatred in the eyes of a brainwashed terrorist.

"We are a peaceful and loving community that does not deserve your actions," Fouda told Tarrant in court today

& # 39; Your hatred is unnecessary. When you have done something, you have brought the world community closer with your evil actions. & # 39;

He added, “I can tell the terrorist's family that they have lost a son and we have also lost many from our community.

"I respect them because they suffer as much as we do."

Janna Ezat, whose son Hussein Al-Umari was killed, looked at Tarrant and spoke softly.

"I forgive you," she said. & # 39; The damage is done, Hussein will never be here. I only have one choice and that is forgivable. & # 39;

There is a small public gallery by the main court where other survivors and family members follow the trial due to social distancing rules in seven overcrowded courtrooms.

Some injured victims and dependents were surrounded by family members while others spoke through translators or on recorded videos from abroad.

Prosecutors also reported the bravery of Naeem Rashid, who was killed in the Al Noor mosque.

He ran towards the defendant from the southeast corner of the room. When Mr. Rashid was about three feet from the defendant, the defendant swung the AR-15 around and fired four shots at close range, ”Hawes said.

Rashid fell on the defendant and the defendant fell to one knee, Hawes said, adding that Tarrant could get up again and shoot Rashid again.

In the second mosque, Abdul Aziz Tarrant chased down the driveway and yelled at him, told prosecutors and threw a discarded rifle at his car, breaking a pane of glass. Aziz was not injured.

Relatives of the bereaved are leaving Christchurch Court today, where the hearing was held under tight security

Relatives of the bereaved are leaving Christchurch Court today, where the hearing was held under tight security

Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, one of the Muslim places of worship that was attacked by Brenton Tarrant after he drove into town and flew a drone over the mosque in preparation

Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, one of the Muslim places of worship that was attacked by Brenton Tarrant after he drove into town and flew a drone over the mosque in preparation

The court was told that Tarrant arrived in New Zealand in 2017 and settled in Dunedin, 220 miles south of Christchurch, where he built a collection of high-powered firearms and bought over 7,000 rounds of ammunition.

Two months before the attack, he drove to Christchurch and flew a drone over the Al Noor mosque. In doing so, he filmed the grounds and buildings, including entrances and exits, with detailed notes about traveling between mosques.

On Friday, March 15, 2019, he left his Dunedin address and drove to Christchurch with a number of high-powered weapons on which he had written references to historical battles, crusade figures, and recent terrorist attacks and symbols.

Hawes said the shooter planned his attacks so that the maximum number of worshipers would be present and that 190 people would be at the Al Noor Mosque for Friday prayers on the day of the attack.

He had subpoenaed ammunition in magazines, mounted a camera on his helmet to record the attacks, and modified gasoline containers "to burn down mosques and said he wished he had," Hawes said.

In the minutes before the storming of the Al Noor Mosque, he posted his 74-page manifesto to an extremist website.

He also made his family aware of what he was up to and sent e-mails to numerous media outlets with threats to attack the mosques.

Tarrant represents himself at the hearing. Judge Cameron Mander has imposed reporting restrictions to prevent him from using the court as a platform for extremist views.

Mander, who said he read more than 200 victim impact statements, is expected to pass judgment on Thursday.

New Zealand abolished the death penalty for murder in 1961, and the longest sentence imposed since then has been life of a minimum of 30 years.

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